Libya government takes charge of Misrata ports
Libya's interim authorities now control all ports of entry to the country's third city of Misrata.
TRIPOLI - Libya's interim authorities now control all ports of entry to the country's third city of Misrata, a government official said on Sunday.
"All the ports were handed over," including the airport, said Ziyad Abdelali of the interior ministry.
The local council of Misrata, which was elected last month, said in a statement that the city handed over control of the airport and the seaport along with its land checkpoints to the central authorities.
Brigades of former rebels had kept a tight grip on these strategic sites since the end of last year's conflict that ousted Moamer Kadhafi's regime. Abdelali said negotiations were still under way for the handover of the airport in the capital Tripoli which remains under the control of a Zintan brigade.
"It is a matter of time," he said. On February 21, the interior ministry gave militias a two-week deadline to hand over to the authorities control of all of the North African country's land, sea and air frontiers.
Government spokesman Nasser al-Manaa said on March 14 that former rebels had agreed to transfer control of the airports and border points to the authorities.
Several militias remain bunkered in Tripoli, much to the dismay of residents who periodically stage rallies calling for their disarmament and departure.